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Brother's Diagnosis
trublessed posted:
HI, my brother was diagnosed last June with Stage 4 Melanoma during a yearly exam for his job. It mestastisized(?) into pancreatic(?) & lungs tumors. He has been on 3 different immun. treatments, I'm not sure what this last one is called but he started out with 4 pills twice a day until he kept getting dehydrated to the point of hospitalization. He's now done to 3 pills twice a day. My question (sorry about the lengthy start) is that he stays out of sun (direct & shade) as much as possible but still sometimes looks, & he says feels,like he got a little sunburn. What, at this point, sunscreen should he be using & with what spf?
Thank You
Elizabeth_WebMD_Staff responded:
Hi trublessed -

I am so sorry to hear of your brother's diagnosis. Please check with his doctors about his feeling of sunburn. I wonder if the medications he takes have this side effect?

Regarding sunscreen, he should (as should everyone) use sunscreen daily. Whichever he chooses the most important "rule" is to apply every two hours. This article gives you great information - Consumer Reports Rates Best Sunscreen Buys. A SPF of at least 30 is recommended.

Hope this is helpful,

trublessed replied to Elizabeth_WebMD_Staff's response:
TY so much Elizabeth for replying. He does wear sunscreen constantly, especially his face & hands as he always wears long sleeves, long pants, and a wide brim hat with hanging material along back of it (sometimes he even adds a kerchief around his neck if he's going to be outside). He tries to stay, (not only out of direct sunlight & even shade), indoors as much as possible. We (family) are aware that that the medication has given him sensitivity-my reason for writing (sorry again so lengthy) is that someone told him that 30 spf is good enough & higher spf's really don't protect any more than the 30.
Is that true?
Again I apologize for the length of this & for you reading & responding.
Peace & Blessings
Patti T.
Skin Cancer Foundation
Michael W Steppie, MD responded:
Because your brother has melanoma, he is at increased risk for further skin cancers, and has to be especially scrupulous about sun safety. I would recommend, for starters, that he wear sun-protective clothing whenever possible outside, including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses. As an extra precaution, he can look for specially designed and labeled high-UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) clothing that offers precise, measured protection against both UVA and UVB rays. It is also vital that he stay out of direct sun during the day and seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM, when the sun is most intense. For everyday, incidental exposure of a few minutes here and there, he should use a broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, and for extended exposures outside, he should use a broad-spectrum, water-resistant UVA/UVB sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. He should always apply the sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside so that it fully absorbs into the skin, and he should reapply it after two hours outside or immediately after heavy sweating. For further details, go to .
trublessed replied to Michael W Steppie, MD's response:
I appreciate all the replies, but my original question still has not been directly answered.
My brother does all of the above already, What I want to know is, does spf's of 50 or more protect any better than say 30 spf? Should he be buying the higher spf's-50,75,80,100 b/c of his late stage cancer?
TY Again for reading & replying to my question, I really do appreciate it.
Peace & Blessings
Patti T
singred replied to trublessed's response:
I am not certain what the "official" status is of using higher spf's, but personally I use no less than 50 - usually as I as I can get. If I remember correctly, the 100 spf basically blocks all or almost all of UVA/UVB. Personally I would use it.

There was a study or article that said the 100 spf totally blocked, because of the zinc oxide (or similar) that covered the skin. I am sorry I cannot remember where I read it, though. I do remember the "white mask" in pictures described as sun screen for those afraid to burn.

I hope this helps.

longduckdong46 replied to singred's response:
I have never seen 100spf on store shelves before ?

I always thought that the different increments with sunscreen represented how long you could go without reapplying more. Such as, spf30 meaning you could go 30 times longer in the sun without risking burns versus not applying any at all ?

If that makes any sense ?
trublessed replied to singred's response:
TY so much for replying singred, so simple an answer just like I was looking for.
p.s. if you ever remember where you read it at, please let know.
TY Again
Peace & Blessings
trublessed replied to longduckdong46's response:
I never had seen it either till I was in AZ visiting my brother recently. But I also had never really looked or paid attention to the different ones though.
I do believe your answer makes sense & wish to TY you for replying.
God Bless
Elizabeth_WebMD_Staff replied to trublessed's response:
Hi trublessed -

Sounds like he is taking very good precautions and he is lucky to have such a caring family!

The article about sunscreen referenced above does state "...above 30 provided little extra protection". So a broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection and SPF of 30 should be sufficient.

I hope he is able to manage this summer and be as comfortable as possible.

trublessed replied to Elizabeth_WebMD_Staff's response:
TY Elizabeth: He's still doing good on medication he takes & has even just arrived from AZ to here in PA to visit with our elderly mother while he still can. His attitude is great, knowing that it's all in God's Hands no matter what all the doctors in world tell him & he's even goofier than when we young-lol. What a Gift Life is when we wake by God's Grace & acknowledge the gratitude and joy instead of negativity.
God Bless All Of You
Elizabeth_WebMD_Staff replied to trublessed's response:
Hi trublessed -

Hoping you guys are having a great visit and your brother continues this fight with a great goofy attitude. Isn't that half that battle?

Blessings to you and your family,

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